The Basics of HebrewThis is a featured page

Most of us have heard Ziva speak in Hebrew. An incredibly fast sounding language, with lots of achs and iks. Luckily, it's not as hard as it sounds. Once you learn the aleph bet (alphabet) and nikud (vowel pointings,) learning it will be a breeze!

The Aleph Bet

The Hebrew aleph bet, is a phonetic which consists of 22 basic letters. 5 letters have sofit versions which means they change form when placed at the end of a word. Unlike English, Hebrew is read right to left instead of left to right. The aleph bet does not have vowels, with the exception of one letter (vav) which makes an oo or u sound. As a replacement for vowels, they use nikud (otherwise known as pointings or vowel points.) Which make a sound directly under the consonant that they are placed under/over/in.

In modern Hebrew, vowel points are not used. Meaning you often have to guess the vowel sound that comes after each letter. As your vocabulary increases, the guessing won't be so hard. It's recommended that you learn the vowel points anyway, because it will make reading and writing Hebrew a lot easier.

Letter Character Sound
Aleph א *glottal stop
Bet בּ b (bold)
Vet ב v (vast)
Gimel ג g (game)
Daled ד d (door)
Hay ה h (hotel)
Vav ו v (van)
Zayin ז z (zebra)
Khet ח ch (loch)
Tet ט t (top)
Yud י y (yes) i (ink)
Kaf כ k (king)
Khaf (sof.) ך kh (loch)
Lamed ל l (love)
Mem מ m (mother)
Mem (sof.) ם m (mother)
Nun נ n (nature)
Nun (sof.) ן n (nature)
Samekh ס s (soul)
Ayin ע *glottal stop
Pay פּ p (peace)
Fay פ f (fabulous)
Fay (sof.) ף f (fabulous)
Tsadie צ ts (bits)
Tsadie (sof.) ץ ts (bits)
Kof ק k (king)
Reysh ר r (Paris)
Shin שׁ sh (shape)
Sin שׂ s (soul)
Tav ת t (table)
*Aleph and Ayin are glottal stops. They have no sound, but instead carry
the sound of the vowel point under them.

The Aleph Bet Song.
(Probably the easiest way to learn the Aleph Bet.)

Basic Vocabulary

Word (English) Transliteration Word (Hebrew)
Hello / Good-bye Shalom שלוצ
Good-bye Lehitra'ot להתראות
Please Bevakasha בבקשה
Thank-you Toda תודה
Excuse Me Slikha סליחה
Yes Ken כ ן
No Lo לא
A lot of Hamon המונ
Many Harbe הרבה
How many? Kama? ?כמה
I Ani אני
Good Tov טוב
Morning Boker בוקר
Night Layla לילה
God Elohim אלוהים
Man Ish איש
Woman Isha אישה
Again Shuv שוב
Dead Met מת

Greetings / Conversation

Good Morning:
בוקר טוב
Boker Tov

ערב טוב
Erev Tov

Good night:
לילה טוב
Layla Tov

How are you?
?מה שלמך
Ma Shlomekh? (f)
Ma Shlomkha? (mO

Fine, and you?
מצוין וות?
Metsuyan ve'at?

My name's...


As per hoorooblue's request, here are some translations for the following Ziva-isms/phrases. Feel free to use them whilst around other Hebrew speaking members of the community.

התקפה וטקטיקה בסגנון מוסד על מְכוֹנַות צִלּוּם

"Mossad-style assault tactics on photocopiers"

האם דב יושב ביער

"Does a bear sit in the woods?"


Latest page update: made by NCIS_hottie , Jan 24 2009, 4:34 PM EST (about this update About This Update NCIS_hottie Edited by NCIS_hottie

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hoorooblue Welcome to the Ziva David School of Hebrew (page: 1 2) 23 Oct 25 2015, 2:08 AM EDT by archway4
Thread started: Sep 15 2008, 8:22 AM EDT  Watch
Great work Reigne on setting up the page! Could you give us the translation for "Mossad-style assault tactics on photocopiers" and "does a bear sit in the woods?". With these two code-phrases, we will be able to identify Israeli fans of NCIS immediately because, instead of looking puzzled, their eyes will light with recognition.
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Keyword tags: Hebrew
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howdy25 awesome! 0 Feb 25 2009, 3:44 PM EST by howdy25
Thread started: Feb 25 2009, 3:44 PM EST  Watch
this page is soooooo cool! good job!
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Keyword tags: NCIS
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